Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David O. Ogungbile
African communities express a variety of views about the serpent as an animal of mysterious and complex characteristics and symbolisms. Among some African people, the serpent is associated with lunar elements as it manifests cosmic powers. The Ngala of central Congo hold that the moon once lived on the Earth as a serpent while the Dogon of West Africa think of the rainbow as the serpent of Nommo, the water god. Africans classify the different species of serpent according to conception in mythic narratives, natural behaviors, and ritual uses. An Akan (Ghana) cosmological myth holds the serpent as an object of mystery and danger, deprivation, and impoverishment. In this myth, the community suddenly discovers a pot full of gold, around which a mysterious serpent appears ...